ROAD SAFETY FOR THE YOUTH
With traffic on our roads becoming increasingly busy it is important for all of us to teach children from a young age to be aware of the traffic rules and regulations. In Malaysia, the Road Safety Plan of Malaysia 2014-2020 has been established by Road Safety Department of Malaysia. Similar efforts have been carried out through the Road Safety Plan of Malaysia 2006-2010. Road Safety Plan of Malaysia 2014-2020 is based on Five Strategic Pillars outlined in Action a decade for road safety, the road safety management, mobility as well as safer roads, safer vehicles, safer user management and post-accident.
The objectives of Road Safety Plan of Malaysia (RSPM) 2014-2020 are:
to increase efforts to reduce the level of road traffic fatalities in Malaysia.
to support the United Nations Commission for Global Road Safety in its call for a Global Decade of Action for Road Safety.
to gather sufficient resources and the requisite political will for road safety initiatives.
Now, let’s focus on the 4th pillar which deals with improving road user behaviour. This strategic pillar is intended to increase enforcement of laws and standards as well as create public awareness and education programmes to nurture a road safety culture amongst road users. One of road safety programmes that will be implemented is Road safety education (RSE) programme in schools.
RSE programme in schools will create road safety awareness among school children as children and young people have a high involvement in road crashes, so they must learn to use the road safely. RSE programme can develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and even more prominently - values that enable children and their family to use the road safely. Under RSPM 2014-2020, the implementation of this programme will be extended to cover secondary schools from form 1 to form 3 as it was successfully implemented in all primary schools from year 1 to year 6 throughout the country in the previous RSPM 2006-2010.
The focus of RSE programme is for the youths as they are one of vulnerable people to be involved in road crashes. There are several risk factors that contribute to road traffic injuries among youth such as not wearing helmets while cycling or riding a motorcycle, speeding, not wearing seatbelts, drunk driving and distracted driving.
The Risk Factors of Road Traffic Injuries Among Youths.
Not wearing helmet while cycling or riding a motorcycle
We can observe most of the teenagers like to ride their motorcycle or bicycle without wearing on helmets because they feel wearing a helmet is just for the kids and may reduce their vision when looking down. But in reality, most injuries resulting from motorcycle or bicycle crashes are head injuries. Moreover, riding a motorcycle or bike is actually exposing their body to danger as there is no metallic framework for protection and no seat-belt to hold at the seat.
Male and young drivers are more likely to speed as they feel speeding will bring satisfaction to themselves. Nevertheless, the higher the speed, the more kinetic or movement energy the vehicle and the driver or passengers are carrying. Therefore, the chances of avoiding a collision become smaller as the longer it takes for the vehicle to stop when do brake. Hence, crashes at higher speeds can cause more severe injuries than those at lower speeds and may highly cause to death.
Not wearing seat-belt
Many people even the youngsters will give excuses not to wear their seat-belts while driving or become the passengers. They seat-belts can be uncomfortable to start with or think that wearing a seat-belt is a waste of time. Actually, seat-belts rarely cause any injuries and if they do, they are usually surface bruises. The presence of air bags will not prevent from being thrown out of the car, as a seat-belt will but airbags might actually cause severe injuries in high impact crashes.
Alcohol and drug consumption by road users result in a higher crash rate. Young adults that are above 18 years old may not being prohibited from consuming alcohol but that is not the opportunity for them to get drunk while driving. Alcohol reduces the ability to make coordinated decisions in many different ways. Using drugs with or after drinking alcohol is never a good idea. People who combine alcohol and drugs are highly risk to be involved in an accident as those drinking alcohols alone.
People basically cannot multi-task, especially while driving, which is considered a 'cognitively demanding' task. Doing something else while driving will put extra demands on the driver, which may reduce his or her driving capabilities. This will lead to become less observant as he or she fails to anticipate hazards, and means accidents may occur due to the distraction. One of the most common causes is the use of mobile phones while driving which make the rate of crashes become higher.